Guest post by the photo-contest winner…
Lyf&Spice is proud to announce its photo contest winner, Hein. The contest held last month received beautiful photo-entries from its readers. Check out the award-winning photo here. As a reward, the winner was asked to write a guest post for Lyf&Spice and here it is.
Before we hop in, here’s a quick introduction:
Based in Myanmar (Burma), Hein is a travel writer/blogger who has explored over 30 countries. Being passionate about photography, he captures his love for nature and heritage through his lens. He shares the adventures of his beautiful homeland, Myanmar and other parts of the world. Not limiting himself to exploring well-known places, he has also taken trips to some off-beat paths to showcase the beauty of hidden treasures on earth.
Over to him…
Calling Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) my home, I am proud to say that we have “hundreds of unique spots” across the country. Most of the travelers these days talk about Bagan, home to thousands of ancient temples, but I would like to tell you that “Inle lake” is a more exclusive site, the world’s one and only place to witness fishermen ‘intha’, the sons of Inle lake, rowing the boats with legs (yes, not with their hands). Not only the lake, but the surrounding mountains and ancient temples add extra value to your trip to Inle lake.
Thanks to #escapers17, the mini – Amazing Race for bloggers, photographers, influencers and writers from Asia and Australia, I finally made a trip to witness the beauty of the extraordinary Inle Lake. Being born and brought up in Myanmar, having lived there for more than 30 years and having traveled to over 30 nations, I never got a chance make a short trip to Inle lake. What a shame!
As there is no international flight operating to Heho Airport, the nearest one to Inle lake, we took Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) from Yangon, the commercial capital of Myanmar. Upon landing, we were transferred to Nyaung Shwe town by bus for a quiet stop at View Point Lodge & Fine Cuisines to showcase our talent by presenting Myanmar’s traditional pickled tea leaves salad (Lat Phet tote).
Then, we continued our journey on a longboat to Inle Lake. The boat ride is simply beautiful. Our first stop was the Jumping Cat Monastery, famed for its jumping cats (except that the cats no longer jump) and the ancient Buddhist statues. Shortly after that, we were transferred to the luxurious Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min where we spent a night.
After checking-in, I grabbed my DSLRs and took a boat ride with my friends over sunset. The sound of the longboats’ engines was the only noise I heard throughout the peaceful lake ride. After taking a ride for about 15 minutes, we started spotting Intha fishermen. Even though I have seen the pictures of intha many times now, experiencing them live, watching their movements and observing their fishing style with my own eyes…made me stop blinking. I just murmured “WOW” to my friends who were speechless too…
We grabbed our cameras and started taking some shots for record. After some wonderful photo shots, we decided to return to Novotel to rest, but the view of the setting sun lured us to watch it set. The view over the pier was simply stunning too.
Intha, the local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style by standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. That style gives the Intha a good view beyond the reeds.
The next morning, after a great sleep on the luxurious bed, and a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we were energized to continue our journey. Of course, a longboat was waiting for us to cruise to the local floating villages. The view along the way from the hotel to the villages was picture-perfect.
Our longboat passed through the small canals for some stops – silversmith, longboat and silk weaving workshops, but the final stop was the most interesting part. We stopped by the cheroots factory, where the local hand-rolled leaf cigarettes are produced, and some of them are with made with dried banana/pineapple, tamarind, honey and others for a different flavour.
A trip to Inle Lake isn’t complete without a visit to Shwe Indein. At this historical site, you can explore around 1,000 ruined temples from the 13th century. You will also be greeted by pure and simple Pa-O kids, the ethnic (locals) living in these regions.
After Shwe Indein, we headed straight to Heho Airport (MNA flight). Even though it was just a 2-day, 1-night trip to Inle Lake, my heart is now with them. I will surely go back there to explore more…
Thanks for that beautiful piece, Hein. We wish you all the best in your adventures.
Lyf&Spice fam, we hope you enjoyed reading his post as much as we enjoyed publishing it.
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